Stephen Hawking warned in an interview with Wired magazine that it is likely artificial intelligence will evolve to a stage in which it will be able to replicate themselves and become a “new form of life” which will be superior to humans.
“I fear that AI may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself,” Hawking said. He added computers could become a “new form of life that will outperform humans.”
The physicist also noted the humankind should urgently come up with a new space program which will include “eventually colonizing suitable planets for human habitation.” Hawking insisted such a plan was vital as the Earth is becoming “too small for” the continuously growing world population.
“We are in danger of self-destructing,” Hawking warned.
Last year, the renowned scientist claimed that artificial intelligence is able to achieve anything the human brain can. “Computers can, in theory, emulate, human intelligence – and exceed it,” he pointed out.
Speaking at the Cambridge University in 2016, Hawking said that the rapid development of AI could also carry benefits for humanity such as undoing the damage caused by the industrialization and eradicating poverty and diseases.
“AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization. But it could also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks,” the physicist warned. Hawking stressed we should also be aware of risks AI could pose, including the creation of “powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress” people.